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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS HERMIONE  -  Dido-class AA Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Hermione (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Alexander Stephen's of Govan, Glasgow under the 1937 Programme on 21st March 1937. The ship was laid down on 6th October 1937 and launched on 18th May 1939 as the third RN ship to carry the name, previously used in 1893. Her completion date was 25th March 1941 and following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in November 1941 she was adopted by Smethwick then in the county of Staffordshire


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, in a ducal coronet an oak tree fructed Gold

penetrated transversely in the main stem by a frame saw White.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 1


March        Contractors Trials.

       25th    Commissioned and carried out Acceptance Trials.


April          On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.

       13th    Began work-up with 15the Cruiser Squadron Home Fleet for service.


May           Deployed with 15th Cruiser Squadron in NW Approaches

       15th    Provided Ocean Escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during a minelay in Northern Barrage.

                  (Operation SN9A). For details see Naval Staff History - MINING.

       22nd   Deployed with ships of 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet search for the German battleship


       24th    Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS with HM Cruisers AURORA and KENYA when carrying

                  out air strikes on BISMARCK

                  (For details of the search and sinking of BISMARCK see Naval Staff History and BATTLESHIP

                  BISMARCK by Mullenheim Rechberg).

       25th    Detached to refuel in Iceland.

       29th    In collision with merchant ship TEMBIEN.



         2nd    Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS from Clyde carrying aircraft for delivery to Malta.

         4th     On passage aircraft from Carrier searched for German supply ship GOZENHEIM in Atlantic.

                   (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett).

        13th    Joined by destroyers from Force H at Gibraltar for escort during passage in Mediterranean for

                   Malta aircraft delivery

                   (For details of all Mediterranean activities between 1940 and 1943 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                   MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and The

                   Naval Staff History)

        15th    Diverted during return passage to UK to join Force H search for enemy raider in Atlantic.

        22nd   Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS for passage to Gibraltar carrying aircraft for delivery to Malta.

                   Joined Force H on arrival.

        26th    Covered HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and FURIOUS during aircraft deliveries to Malta

                   (Operation RAILWAY 1)

        30th    Provided cover to same ships for repeat delivery RAILWAY 2 on 30/6).


 July           Under repair at Gibraltar.

        21st    Escorted HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Battleship NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL which were

                   covering passage of Malta personnel convoy as far as Skerki Channel and transit of HM Supply Ship

                   BRECONSHIRE) from Malta (Operation SUBSTANCE).

        23rd    Transferred to Convoy Close Escort after HM Cruiser MANCHESTER was damaged and remained

                   with convoy for rest of passage.

        24th    Sailed from Malta to rejoin Force H at Gibraltar.

        28th    Embarked troops from Transport LEINSTER which had grounded and had not joined SUBSTANCE


        31st    Joined HM Cruisers MANXMAN and ARETHUSA as Force X for passage to Malta with

                   passengers (Operation STYLE).



         2nd    During return passage to Gibraltar rammed and sank Italian submarine TEMBIEN off Tunis.

         4th     Under repair to bow structure at Gibraltar.

        21st    Escorted HMS NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL for air attacks on Tempio, Sardinia and

                   during a demonstration sweep by Force H off Valencia as diversion for minelay off Italian coast

                   by HM Minelaying Cruiser MANXMAN (Operation MINCEMEAT).



         8th    Escorted HMS NELSON during covering operations for three aircraft deliveries to Malta by HMS

                   ARK ROYAL and HMS FURIOUS (Operations STATUS 1 , 2 and 3)

       14th    Resumed duties with Force H on completion.

       24th    Joined Force X with HM Cruisers KENYA, EDINBURGH, SHEFFIELD, EURYALUS for the

                  escort of a personnel and stores convoy through Sicilian Narrows to Malta with cover by HM

                  Battleships NELSON, PRINCE OF WALES and RODNEY as Force A.

                  Provided AA cover for HMS ARK ROYAL during passage.

                  Italian intervention was prevented by the astute use of covering force and the enemy ships withdrew.

                  (Operation HALBERD).

       28th    Detached to carry out diversionary bombardment of Pantellaria.


October     Deployed with Force H.

       16th    Escorted HMS ARK ROYAL covered by HMS RENOWN for aircraft delivery to Malta.

                   (Operation CALLBOY).


November  Force H Deployment in continuation.

         3rd    (Note:  Under unsuccessful attack by U83 near Gibraltar during escort of HMS ARK ROYAL and

                              HMS ARGUS during passage near Gibraltar.

                              See HITLERS U-BOAT WAR, Volume 1 by C Blair.)

       10th     Escorted H M Battleship MALAYA, HM aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and ARGUS for an aircraft

                   delivery to Malta (Operation PERPETUAL).

       13th     HMS ARK ROYAL torpedoed east of Gibraltar by U81 and sank the following day.


December  Deployment at Gibraltar in continuation.


1 9 4 2


January      Routine docking and maintenance at Gibraltar.

                    Took passage to UK with Admiral Somerville embarked after his appointment as Cin C designate

                    East Indies Station.


February    Deployed in Home waters and nominated for escort of military convoy during return passage to

                    Gibraltar for service in Force H,

       17th     Joined military convoy WS16 in Clyde with HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carriers

                   ARGUS, EAGLE and FORMIDABLE as  Ocean Escort during Atlantic passage.

                   (Note:  HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, BLANKNEY, CROOME, DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE,

                              FIREDRAKE, LAFOREY and LIGHTNING provided screen during passage.)

       21st     Detached from WS16 and took passage to Gibraltar with HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS

                   EAGLE for service in Mediterranean.



         6th     Escorted HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for aircraft delivery to Malta.

                   (Operation SPOTTER).

       20th     Escorted HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for aircraft delivery to Malta

                   (Operation PICKET I).

       27th     Repeat aircraft delivery with same ships (Operation PICKET II).

         1st      Detached with HMS MALAYA, HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING
                    and DUNCAN, six corvettes and six minesweepers for support of planned landings in Madagascar as
                    as Force F.
         9th      Passage from Freetown to Durban.
        19th     Arrived at Capetown.
        22nd    Arrived at Durban.
        28th     Escorted HMS RAMILLIES and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with screen of six Fleet destroyers to meet
                     Convoy Y taking main Diego Suarez assault force to assault area (Operation IRONCLAD).
                    (For full details see Naval Staff History, RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, ENGAGE THE
                    ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray).

         3rd      Carried out diversionary bombardment of French positions south of Diego Suarez Bay
                     Bombarded shore batteries commanding Orja Pass which ceased return fire after 10 minutes.
        10th     On release from IRONCLAD completion transferred to Mediterranean Fleet.
                     (Note:  This was necessary to replace ships sink or damaged during operations in defence of Crete.)
                     Passage to Alexandria for service with 15th Cruiser Squadron.

         7th      Arrived at Alexandria with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and ARETHUSA.
Joined Squadron.
      11th       Nominated for support of passage to Malta of relief convoy MW11 with HM Battleship
                    CENTURION (Disguised as a KING GEORGE V battleship,) HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE,
                    by 17 destroyers.

                     (Note:  In addition nine HUNT Class Escort destroyers were deployed as close escort for

                                 mercantiles to fight this convoy through to the beleagured island (Operation VIGOROUS).

        13th      Sailed with these ships to join MW11

        14th      Joined MW11 and under air attacks and threat from Italian major warships.

                     (Note:  Heavy expenditure of AA ammunition)

                     Attack by Torpedo boats after nightfall was driven off by escort

        15th      Convoy ordered by CinC at Alexandria to reverse course and under attack by torpedo boats.

                     (Note:  HM Destroyer HASTY was hit and had to be sunk by HM Destroyer HOTSPUR.

                                 HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE was also hit and sustained serious damage,

        16th      Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which several ships were damaged.

                     (Note:  HM Escort Destroyer AIREDALE and HM Destroyer NESTOR (RAN) were later

                                 sunk by other ships in escort.

                     Convoy ordered by CinC to resume westward passage and later rescinded

                     Later instruction to resume west passage was ignored owing lack of AA ammunition

                     During return passage hit on starboard side amidships by torpedo fired from U205 in position

                     33-30N 26.10E, south of Crete.

                     Machinery compartments flooded and ship took on a 22 degree list- before lying completely on one

                     side for 21 minutes prior to sinking.

                     440 of ship’s company were rescued by HM Escort Destroyers ALDENHAM, BEAUFORT and

                     EXMOOR. (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                     (Note: Surviving mercantiles and escorts returned to Alexandria when operation was abandoned

                                due to threat of surface intervention by Italian fleet and continuation of heavy air attacks.

                                For full details of this disastrous operation during which ill-advised and unhelpful

                                instructions by CinC deprived those at sea from making appropriate decision based on actual

                                circumstances. See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Bamett,

                                THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, MALTA CONVOYS by

                                R Woodman and the Naval Staff History.

                                Casualty List was published on 30th July 1942.) 







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived













MW 011








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 5/6/11
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